How Does It Work?

The Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program works on a membership basis. 

You can choose one of three membership options:

  • Monthly. Immediate access to 4 online painting lessons. 
  • Quarterly. Immediate access to  12 online painting lessons.
  • Annually. Immediate access to 48 online painting lessons.

There are 192 lessons in the complete four-year Virtual Art Academy®Apprentice Program.

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The home page of our members-only Online Campus where you can interact with other Virtual Art Academy students from all over the world

What Do I Get With My Membership Fee?

Each month for the first 48 months, as a member of the Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program you get the following member benefits:

  • #1 — One New Beautifully Formatted eBook from The Virtual Art Academy® Reference Library.  The four-year Apprentice Program is based around the Virtual Art Academy® eBook Reference Library.  Each month for 48 months, you get one FREE eBook download from this library that you can download to your computer and keep forever. Over the course of your four-year program you will have built up your own personal library of 58 art eBooks with over one and a half thousand fully illustrated page — an invaluable resource that you will be able to keep forever. Just this resource alone is worth the cost of the monthly membership fee. This is a $960 value if sold separately.
  • #2 — Four New Lessons from the four-year Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice  Program added to your account each month. Each online painting lesson helps you build the fundamental skills you need to paint well. They include related resources such as videos, relevant excerpts from the Reference Library, examples and painting assignments.
  • #3 — Painting Assignments. The core of the Apprentice Program are the painting assignments. These assignments are specifically designed to help you build your skills one-by-one in a systematic manner. Unlike a regular college course, you can take as long as you like to complete the assignments, making it very easy to fit into your own schedule. If you want, you can upload your assignments to the Online Campus and interact with other students. Our students have told us that the encouragement and feedback from an enthusiastic and friendly community of like-minded artists motivates them and helps them learn faster.  As a bonus, you can make wonderful friendships worldwide.
  • #4 — A Video Of The Month on a key painting topic to help you develop your skills. These video segments will help you learn difficult concepts and make your learning easier.
  • #5 — A Monthly Critique of an Old Master Painting. Each month we critique a painting by a master artist to discover the key principles the artist used that helped make the painting successful. This is a great way to help you develop your compositional skills, and take your painting to a higher level.
  • #6 —  A Monthly Master Artist Profile selected by Barry. Each month we look at the work of a master artist to discover and analyse their particular strengths. By knowing who to learn from, and what to learn from them, you will learn faster and become a much better painter. This is an essential resource to help you develop as an artist.
  • #7 —  Access To the VAA Online Glossary. All of the reference books in the Virtual Art Academy are cross-referenced into a large knowledge base, to give you access to the information you need at your finger tips. No more looking searching for hours through hundreds of art books to try to find that bit of information you read somewhere.
  • #8 —  Access To the VAA  Special Interest Groups for oil painters, watercolor painters, pastel artists, digital artists, plein air painters, and artists interested in figure and portrait work.
  • #9 —  Free Course Updates. All of the lessons are being continually added to, with new examples and other resources to help you learn. All these updates are FREE for members.

What happens at the end of the four years?

At the end of the four year program you have two choices:

  1. Download the complete Virtual Art Academy® Reference Library to your computer, and cancel your membership, or
  2. Continue your membership of the Virtual Art Academy and take advantage of  all the various resources we offer on our Online Campus to help our Graduates develop their skills even further.

What Media Can I Use?

You can use any media you like for this course. We are completely flexible. This is because we teach you the underlying principles that make a painting work in addition to the techniques for the various media. Once you have mastered these key principles, then you will find you can paint in any media you choose. Here are some alternatives:

  • regular oil paints – oil paints are the materials that the great masters have used throughout the centuries for the wide range of effects they can produce and their flexibility. I like them for beginners because you can easily scrape it off if something is not working and re-do the section.
  • water-soluble oil paints – these are almost as good as regular oil paints but you do not need to worry about solvents.
  • acrylic paints – similar to oils but they do tend to dry more quickly and it is not so easy to scrape them off and repaint sections.
  • watercolor paints – easy to carry around and clean up. You can create nice paintings with watercolors but they are actually quite difficult to do well, mainly because it is hard to repaint sections of the painting if your drawing is off, or if you want to change something major.
  • digital media – there are many inexpensive software products that you can now use to paint on a computer or on a tablet such as an iPad. Barry uses ArtRage for doing compositional studies. The great thing about painting on a computer is the undo and redo buttons. You can instantly explore lots of different compositional ideas much faster than with real paint.
  • pastels or colored crayons.

Have a question?

Please contact us.


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